Jane Lubchenco, a zoologist focused on oceans and climate at Oregon State University, is now undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
She had been unable to speak with the press while her nomination was being weighed by the Senate but has now answered a few questions.
There’ll be a lot more here from Dr. Lubchenco and other members of the Obama team on climate, energy and the environment — hopefully including answers to questions posed recently by Dot Earth readers. (John Holdren, the new science adviser to the president, has posted an interesting video message on his priorities.)
Q. Did you have any second thoughts about the jump to government from a leading role in academic research?
A. I never had envisioned doing this. I’m not sure I would’ve done it for any other president. I truly believe that this is a different time. The opportunities are enormous, despite all the economic and other challenges.
Q. What’s high on your to-do list?
A. First and foremost is establishing a real juggernaut of a team to be the senior leadership within N.O.A.A. that will work closely with all of the 13,000 individuals that do much of the real work.
Also, working closely with John Holdren [Dr. Holdren is the new science adviser] on interagency policies to insure that we’re taking advantage of the best possible science and ensuring that this is a welcoming place for scientists.